In a way, these contrivances are opposites–the first is about a bad boy who does not change, while the second is about the bad boy who ends up showing his softer side.
The thing is, it works. Bad boys make good cinema. I’ll state my case with the ultimate bad boy of all time: Han Solo.
Women like Han Solo because he’s cool, dashing, adventurous, and devil-may-care. Men like Han Solo because he’s the epitome of our ego: he does whatever he wants, says whatever he wants, goes wherever he wants…and he still gets the girl.
But the key is that deep down, Han Solo cares. Imagine if he simply hadn’t returned at the end of Episode IV to help destroy the Death Star (spoiler alert!) We’d have a very different impression of Han today. But for whatever reason–the glory, the thrill of battle, or perhaps the hint of a conscience–Han does return, and we love him for it.
Do Han Solo-like bad boys exist in real life? Maybe. Perhaps you women have dated them. Regardless, I’m perfectly happy for that movie trope to persist. I think it makes great entertainment. Without it, we wouldn’t have Han Solo, Captain Jack Sparrow, or Prince Charmont from Ella Enchanted.